Treasury holds onto Sh73 billion for county governments

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, November 8, 2016. FILE | PHOTO | NMG
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, November 8, 2016. FILE | PHOTO | NMG 

Counties are yet to receive Sh73.4 billion of what the Exchequer owes them a week before the close of the current financial year.

Treasury secretary Henry Rotich said in a Friday Kenya Gazette that the Exchequer had released Sh245.5 billion to counties by end of May, leaving a balance of Sh73.4 billion.

The 47 devolved units had been given Sh280 billion as equitable allocation for operations in the year ending June 2017. The Treasury allocated an additional Sh4 billion for Level 5 hospitals.

“Total cash released to county governments was Sh245.5 billion as at May 31, 2017. Exchequer balance was Sh73.4 billion,” he said.

By April 28, the county governments had received Sh210 billion from the Exchequer leaving a balance of Sh96 billion.

In May, the governors expressed disappointment over delays in the release of funds from the Treasury which had pushed them to seek loans from commercial banks to meet their obligations such as paying workers’ salaries.

At the time, the governors said they were yet to receive cash for the fourth quota disbursement set for release from April. Counties were to receive Sh74.7 billion covering the three months to June.

The county bosses accused the Treasury of sabotage through fund delays and pushing for inadequate allocation to the counties.

Up until Thursday last week, counties were staring into uncertainty about their operations following a stalemate between the two houses of Parliament on the sharable revenue to the 47 devolved units.

It was only after a mediated process that MPs agreed to allocate the counties Sh302 billion in the year ending June 2018.

This was through approval of the amended Division of Revenue Bill which set the stage for passage of the County Allocation of Revenue Bill that determines how much each county gets.